Spatial and Temporal Variations of Water Quality within the City of Atlanta Water Distribution System, 2012-2013 Open Access

Weil, Courtney (2013)

Permanent URL: https://etd.library.emory.edu/concern/etds/rb68xc402?locale=en
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Abstract

To date, evaluation of distribution system water quality has been under-explored, and water utilities, as well as the general public, could benefit from the exploration of water quality deterioration within urban distribution systems. The City of Atlanta water utility serves more than a million customers on a daily basis, and extensively monitors the quality of water at over 80 key sites throughout the distribution system, typically on a quarterly basis. The comparison of these quarterly grab samples to the water quality data that was collected continuously using remote sensors during this study shows that these two sampling methods produce significantly different means and variances over time for a variety of water quality parameters, including conductivity, pH, chlorine, turbidity, and pressure. These infrequent grab samples provide a much less complete characterization of the temporal variation in basic water quality parameters compared to continuous water quality monitoring. In addition, the comparison of water quality data collected continuously displays interesting differences among parameters at the two locations sampled, suggesting water quality changes spatially, as well as temporally, within the City of Atlanta distribution system. Investment in increased capacity to monitor and evaluate real-time water quality data at key locations within a distribution system could lead to improved distribution system water quality oversight, and better public health protection.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 - Literature Review.............................................................................................. 1

1.1 - Total Coliform Rule................................................................................................ 1

1.2 - Remote Sensing of Water Quality Parameters........................................................ 2

1.3 - The City of Atlanta Water Distribution System....................................................... 4

1.4 - Water Quality Parameters of Interest...................................................................... 5

1.4.1 - Pressure........................................................................................................... 6

1.4.2 - Chlorine........................................................................................................... 7

1.4.3 - Turbidity.......................................................................................................... 8

1.4.4 - pH.................................................................................................................... 8

1.4.5 - Oxidation-Reduction Potential......................................................................... 8

1.4.6 - Conductivity..................................................................................................... 9

1.4.7 - Temperature................................................................................................... 10

1.5 - Hillsborough County, Florida Study..................................................................... 10

Chapter 2 - Research Objectives and Rationale.................................................................. 12

Chapter 3 - Draft Manuscript............................................................................................ 15

3.1 - Introduction and Background................................................................................ 15

3.2 - Methods................................................................................................................ 16

3.2.1 - Automated Monitoring and Sampling Unit.................................................... 16

3.2.2 - Field site selection.......................................................................................... 17

3.3 - Results.................................................................................................................. 20

3.3.1 - Spatial variability of water quality................................................................... 20

3.3.2 - Temporal variability of water quality - Moving averages................................ 24

3.3.3 - Comparison of continuously monitored data to grab sample data.................. 28

3.3.4 - Variability between water quality measurements measured through continuous monitoring and grab samples 30

3.4 - Discussion............................................................................................................ 34

3.4.1 - Spatial Variability........................................................................................... 35

3.4.2 - Temporal Variability....................................................................................... 36

3.4.3 - Comparison of Continuous Monitoring and Grab Samples........................... 37

3.4.4 - Strengths........................................................................................................ 39

3.4.5 - Limitations..................................................................................................... 39

3.5 - Conclusion............................................................................................................ 41

Chapter 4 - Lessons learned and recommendations........................................................... 43

Appendix............................................................................................................................ 45

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